Taxi cabs in Las Vegas may be striking to a standstill but plenty of Sin City's college football spreads are on the move heading into the weekend.
We chat with Jeff Stoneback, sportsbook manager at the MGM Mirage in Las Vegas, about some of the most notable adjustments on the Week 8 board:
Pittsburgh Panthers at Buffalo Bulls – Open: +11, Move: +8.5
Early money is siding with the Panthers in this Big East vs. MAC battle, moving the spread past the key number of 10 and as low as 8.5. Stoneback says there haven’t been many wagers placed on this game but all of them have been big plays on the underdog.
“It’s all pros focusing on a game like this,” Stoneback told Covers. “We’ve literally taken like three bets on this game and all three have been on Buffalo and the points.”
Nebraska Cornhuskers at Northwestern Wildcats – Open: +4.5, Move: +7
Money on the road side has moved this Big Ten spread to a touchdown at some markets. The Mirage opened at 4.5 and jumped straight to 5.5 and 6 with action on the Huskers. Stoneback believes that bettors aren’t buying into Northwestern or its 6-1 record.
“They’ve played a pretty soft schedule up to this point,” he says. “This is really the first quality opponent that they’ve come up against.”
Cincinnati Bearcats at Toledo Rockets – Open: +7, Move: +5
This spread has been up and down all week, opening with the Bearcats as touchdown road faves and climbing as high as 7.5 before bettors bought back the Rockets at a feverish pace and dropped the spread to the dead number of +5.
Stoneback says this game is much like the Pitt-Buffalo matchup, with a small ticket count but limit bets ($5,000 for MAC games) being made on the underdog.
“These in-state games are always tough,” he says. “There is always that added incentive to knock off one of the big boys – not that Cincinnati is a big team in the state, like Ohio State. But they’re a big BCS school.”
Georgia Bulldogs at Kentucky Wildcats – Open: +28, Move: +26
This spread is surprisingly shrinking despite the fact UK is down to its third-string QB, Jalen Whitlow, and has lost five in a row SU and ATS, putting head coach Joker Phillips’ head on the chopping block.
Stoneback believes bettors are being cautious of UGA, with star LB Jarvis Jones nursing an ankle injury and a huge rivalry game with Florida in the "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" set for Jacksonville next week.
“This is a possible look-ahead game for Georgia,” says Stoneback. “Obviously, they should win but they don’t want to show too much and may want to rest some people. With everything happening with Kentucky, they’ll be putting in 100 percent effort while Georgia may not be.”
Florida State Seminoles at Miami Hurricanes – Open: +18, Move: +21.5
This classic Sunshine State rivalry seems a bit one-sided to bettors, who have pumped up the spread for this ACC showdown.
The Mirage has been opening Florida State higher than some other books this season due to the Seminoles’ public appeal, opening this spread at 20.5 compared to some online markets which initially dealt FSU -18.
“That public appeal (of FSU) and the fact that Miami has looked terrible in recent outings, that combo is driving that move,” says Stoneback.